Blue Largo: Swingin’ Blues (And a Special Guest!)

Guitarist Eric Lieberman and vocalist Alicia Aragon are the core of San Diego’s Blue Largo, specializing in hard swinging 1940’s / ’50’s jump blues in the vein of Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Otis, Julia Lee, Ruth Brown, and Dinah Washington. They can also pay sincere tribute to the likes of Billie Holiday or The Nat King Cole Trio with equal conviction, .performing with an unshakeable passion that audiences immediately pick up on.

Joining Blue Largo will be a very special guest, (sorry, we can’t name him yet, but you’ll be as excited as we are!), a former San Diego Blues singer/songwriter icon whose original songs have been covered by such blues legends as Etta James, Solomon Burke, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Tom Jones. He has won four San Diego Music Awards and has released 14 albums. Figured it out yet?  Catch Blue Largo on Friday evening, and be prepared to be thrilled.

Bill Magee’s Got the Blues (and We Are Very Happy About It!)

Voted the “Best Blues Band in San Diego” by the San Diego Music Association, as well as by The Reader, The Bill Magee Blues Band is a perennial favorite of the San Diego blues scene.

Born in Mississippi, Magee, who was known then as “Willie” Magee was orphaned at 13 and went to live with his brother in Ithaca, NY, where, inspired by the likes of Muddy Waters, BB King and Elmore James, he bought his first guitar. Within a few years, he was nurturing his talents in the blues clubs of Harlem, where he met a budding guitarist who called himself Jimmy James.  The two formed a band, Jimmy James and the Flames, in 1963. By 1967, Jimmy James had changed his name to Jimi Hendrix and gone to England, and Magee took his new band, The Kansas City All-Stars on a tour of Europe.  After leading that band for almost 3 decades, performing with just about every living blues great, Bill Magee relocated to Southern California in the late 1980s and formed his current band in 1993.

Catch the Bill Magee Blues Band at Gator By the Bay on Sunday on the Festival Stage and see how good the blues can make you feel.



Carrying a Torch for Linnzi Zaorski

In New   Orleans, indie-jazz torch singer and songwriter Linnzi Zaorski has been an acclaimed presence on the neo-trad jazz scene of Frenchmen   Street since its very beginnings over a decade ago. Known for her cheeky lyrics, unique and refreshing phrasing, and retro style, she breathes new life classic depression-era swing tunes as well as rocking her original material.  It’s been said that Linnzi can transform a venue into a late night speak easy with her coy, after-hours charm.

Linnzi has released 5 albums since 2002 and in 2006 her music and career were featured on NPR’ s “ All Things Considered” in a story by Andrei Codrescu.

Here’s what others have said about Ms Zaorski:

“ Linnzi is the Ninth Ward’ s torchiest torch singer, evoking the lost,
romantic days when men were men and women were dames in seamed stockings
and stiletto heels.” —Offbeat Magazine

“ Most of the current female jazz vocalists sing with an airy-prettiness, but Zaorski sings
like the brassy, sassy broads of yesteryear.” —-ZeeGig San Diego

Gator By the Bay is most excited to bring Linnzi Zaorski to the Bourbon Street Supper Club on Friday Night and to the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Gator Gets Lucky with Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums

In case you haven’t noticed (been sleeping under a rock, have you?) there has been a huge revival in swing music in recent years, and Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit, have been at the forefront, performing jump blues, swing, jazz and rare gems inspired by the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s in their own inimitable style.

At their best before a live audience—especially a live dancing audience!—the band brings an intense energy and sheer personal magnetism to the stage, exercising wit in a continuous battle of the sexes played out by husband and wife Lucky and Getit.

Raised in the Detroit area, Steve Lucky started playing piano at age eight and was playing and singing professionally by the time he was thirteen. In the 80’s, while a student in Ann Arobr, Lucky founded his own blues/swing band, which enjoyed huge popularity on the Midwest college circuit, and after moving to NYC in 1987 to play keyboards for Grammy award-winning guitarist and vocalist Johnny Clyde Copeland he became very active in the Greenwich Village music scene, and performed with a diverse group of musicians such as Joan Osborne and Blues Traveller.

In 1993, Steve Lucky moved to San Francisco and started The Rhumba Bums, and the band really started taking off in ‘94 with the addition of Miss Carmen Getit on vocals and guitar.

Carmen’s powerful vocals call to mind the influences of her idols Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Dinah Washington.  She began plucking out melodies on the piano before she learned to read, and at age ten Carmen began singing and playing acoustic guitar with a group of girl guitarists at her local church. Over fifteen years later Steve Lucky bought her an electric guitar and turned her on to early blues and jazz. She has performed and recorded with Elvin Bishop, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and piano blues legend Pinetop Perkinsand is featured in productions like “Queens of Boogie Woogie”, “Women In Blues” and “Divas of the Blues”.

Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit will play on the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon, and Steve Lucky will join Sue Palmer and Deanna Bogart on Sunday in a Six-Hand Boogie Woogie Piano Extravaganza, while Carmen Getit will also appear with Sue Palmer’s Ladies Shoes Blues Review on Saturday afternoon on the Mardi Gras Stage.

For a taste of the exciting talent and energy that is Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit, check out this video!

“Johnny V” Vernazza—With a Little Help From His Friends

Multiple Gold recording artist Johnny Vernazza’s blues and slide guitar history is right out of the dynamic San Francisco Bay Area scene of the 1960s, a hotbed of fantastic music, especially the West Coast and Southern Blues genres.  Playing with such greats as Luther Tucker and Sunnyland Slim, Johnny V was asked by Elvin Bishop to join a new band he was putting together, and this association led to six albums, endless touring and the #3 song in the nation in 1974 : “Fooled Around and Fell in Love“. That record turned Gold as did an LP with The Marshall Tucker Band that featured Johnny and Elvin on slide guitar.

These days, San Diego is fortunate to call Johnny V one of our own, playing with his own band as well as appearing with numerous visiting greats.  He seems to know everyone worth knowing in the blues scene, and has put together some fantastic collaborations for Gator By the Bay in the past, appearing on our stages with Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Lazy Lester and others.  This year, The Johnny Vernazza Project, playing the Festival Stage on Saturday afternoon, will feature a one-time-only combination of  legendary “Southern Blues” talents from Johnny and his friends:  harmonica player Mark Hummel, slide guitarist Nick Gravenites, and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Deanna Bogart.  You can bet that Festival Stage will be rocking!!!!!

Janiva Magness: Sultry Songstress

Sultry. Smoky. Earthy. Impassioned. Gutsy. In describing female singers, especially blues singers, these words are much used—some might even argue overused—but in the case of singer and songwriter Janiva Magness, they are totally right on.

In 2009, Janiva was named the BB King Entertainer of the Year by the Blues Foundation—only the 2nd woman ever to be so honored—and Contemporary Blues Female artist of the Year. In 2013, the Blues Foundation named her song “I Won’t Cry” (co-written with Dave Darling) Song of the Year, and once again was awarded her 4th Contemporary Blues Female artist of the Year title.

Janiva channels an early life of extreme adversity into her music with a survivor’s triumph, and it is this honest emotional complexity that brings the unquantifiable depth and passion to her performances that her audiences respond to on a visceral level.

Wahtzup Picks nails it when they describe Janiva’s shows:  “While Magness soulfully knocks it out of the park when she performs her originals, she has also made quite the name for herself with her blues and soul covers. Perhaps one of her greatest gifts is her ability to completely transform music from outside genres into a blues performance without abandoning their original forms. No one has ever so seamlessly and comfortably slipped pop and country songs into a bluesy masterpiece.”

Janiva Magness headlines the Bourbon Street Supper Club stage on Friday at 8:30 PM.

Dancing Shoes! The Ladies Shoes Blues Review–Only at Gator By the Bay

ladyshoesreview_logoOne of the great things about Gator By the Bay has always been how it seems to be the perfect venue for musicians who don’t usually (or ever) perform together, to do just that—combining talents and energy and coming up with exciting shows to delight the festival goers.

One of these “never done before” showcases that promises to be absolutely amazing is The Ladies Shoes Blues Review”, a powerhouse 10 piece all women, all-star band, performing together for one show only.  With Sue Palmer, the Queen of Boogie Woogie, at the helm, there’s no doubt that the end result will be a rollicking good time.

The band is an eclectic mix of local and national talent, hand picked by Sue, and includes a dynamic three person horn section and powerful lead vocals along with Sue’s signature piano boogie woogie blues. The collaboration includes:

Sue Palmer, piano:  Sue Palmer’s flashy piano stylings are legendary, not only with her Motel Swing Orchestra in here in San Diego, but among audiences she has played for all over the world. She has shared the stage and/or recorded with the likes of Marcia Ball, Steve Lucky, Hadda Brooks, Sonny Leland, Candye Kane, Big Sandy & the FlyRite Boys, Rosie Flores, Dave Alvin, Earl Thomas and a host of other luminaries, racking up a slew of awards along the way.

Deanna Bogart, saxophone:  Pianist, saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter, Deanna is best known as an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and multifaceted musician whose fans value the eclectic diversity of her genre defying sensibilities and talents. Among her many honors are three consecutive Blues Music Awards. Deanna has recently moved to northern California from the East Coast and we welcome her to Gator by the Bay!

Carmen Getit, guitar and vocals: Carmen, is best known for her partnership with husband pianist Steve Lucky and their band the Rhumba Bums. She has performed and recorded with Elvin Bishop, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and piano blues legend Pinetop Perkins, and has been profiled in the All Music Guide’s “500 Top Jazz Vocalists” released in 2005.

Missy Andersen, vocals:  A two-time San Diego Music Award nominee, Missy was voted Best New Artist-Female in 2009 by Real Blues Magazine and her self-titled CD also won Best Debut Album-Female that same year.

April West, trombone: Often seen performing with Sue Palmer in her Motel Swing Orchestra, or with San Diego’s Euphoria Brass Band and other gigs around town, April also lends her skills on bass guitar and vocals in such diverse genres as swing, salsa, big band, western, and rock.

Elizabeth Meeker, trumpet: Elizabeth has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Orchestra Nova, the Old Globe Theater, the “Lawrence” Welk Theater, and is a member of Westwind Brass Quintet. She holds music degrees from both Boston University and Yale University and is on the faculty of Southwestern Community College.

Deejha Marie, vocals: If you’ve seen Sue Palmer’s Motel Swing Orchestra, then you’ve been awed by the lead vocals of Deejha Marie. She was the recipient of San Diego’s African American Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009, and her album :”Carpet Ride,” was nominated for Best Jazz Album by the San Diego Music Awards the same year.

Laura Jane, vocals: Laura Jane’s big soulful blues voice has won her a strong San Diego following as lead singer/songwriter for San Diego Music Award-nominated band, THE TIGHTEN UPS! A background in comedy improve adds some saucy humor into the mix.

Jodie Hill, bass: A Berklee School of Music alum, Jodie Hill has a 20 year history of excelling on acoustic and electric bass in NYC and San Diego. She plays it all: Jazz, Rock, Country & Western, Pop, Top Forty, Lounge, Latin, and has been a seesion musician on numerous TV and radio jingle recordings.

Sharon Shufelt, drums: In addition to being Sue Palmer’s drummer for many years, Sharon is a multi instrumentalist, playing guitar, banjo, and upright bass. In addition to being a great drummer, she is a stellar backup vocalist.

Sue Palmer is anticipating the show with excitement.  “There will be SO much talent onstage, I think it will be just unreal!” she enthuses. “We’ve never all played together before, but we’re working on lots of fun material, and I can guarantee that the dancers—particularly the swing dancers—are going to absolutely love it!  I’m really happy to have this opportunity to play with all these fabulous women, including some with whom I’ve never had the chance to collaborate before.”

Tab Benoit Comes to Gator By the Bay!

tab-benoit-2Now in it’s 13th year, Gator By the Bay continues to be the West Coast’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, and Blues music festival, delighting over 17,000 attendees on the 2nd weekend of May, every year.

This year, the good times of Gator By the Bay expand to 4 days, with the addition of a festival kick-off, Thursday Night Blues Extravaganza featuring Louisiana guitar legend Tab Benoit on May 8,  under the Festival Stage tent at 6:30 PM.

Benoit, who has chocked up three Grammy nominations, four Blues Music Award’s “Entertainer of the Year” titles, and has garnered five Contemporary Male Blues Music Awards, consistently plays to sold-out crowds. A founding member and driving force of Voice of the Wetlands, an organization of musicians, filmmakers and conservationists dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s endangered wetlands, Tab Benoit is the real deal— a masterful musician and a true son of the Louisiana bayou.

Seating is limited and this concert WILL sell out! Don’t wait—order tickets here:

The Fremonts

The FremontsGator By The Bay is pleased to announce the addition of the legendary R&B band The Fremonts to Gator By The Bay’s 2013 musical lineup. The Fremonts are scheduled to play on The Mardi Gras Stage at 12:30 pm on Sunday May 12, 2013.

Known as modern purveyors of Gulf Coast R&B, The Fremonts effortlessly capture the sound of vintage, eclectic blues and American root’s labels like Excello, Vee-Jay, Imperial and Specialty” to create a sound that is “unique and refreshingly familiar”.

The combination of band leader and vocalist “Mighty” Joe Milsap, Al West on drums and Patrick Skog and Tony Tomlinson on guitar and bass makes this musical group a popular draw at festivals across the Southwest. Named “The Best Blues Band” by the San Diego Reader in 2003 in addition to numerous awards and accolades quite simply makes The Fremonts a perfect fit…and a must see….for all Gator By The Bay fans alike.

Chet and the Committee

chet and the committeeGator By The Bay is thrilled to announce the addition of San Diego’s Favorite Good Time Swingin’ Blues and Rockin’ Boogie Band, Chet and the Committee to our 2013 musical lineup.  The committee is scheduled to perform on May 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm on The Fountain Stage.

Chet and the Committee are an energetic, swinging blues band that pour their heart and soul into every show they perform. “Our main objective is to make sure that it’s a good time for everyone” says self-described ‘terminal blues fan’ Chet Cannon.  And a good time is exactly what you will have when you attend this Swingin’ band’s performance featuring: Brother Dana Duplan, Steady Freddy Lawson, Bil Al Schneider, Cousin Judd Austin and Chet Cannon.  Grab those dancing shoes and start stretching now… there is simply no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with San Diego staple and 2010 Best Blues Album nominee Chet and the Committee.

Make sure to stay tuned to this channel for Gator By The Bay’s 2013 musical lineup updates and up-to-the-minute event news!